|Annika’s Halloween costume, Uniqua, from the Backyardigans
Last year around Halloween I became aware of the idea of unfooding, or basically, not limiting food, and not setting any real standards surrounding meals. The idea is that if you provide your children with lots and lots of choices, they will learn to self regulate and will grow up making healthy choices surrounding food.
People who do this are typically unschoolers. So, the philosophy fits right in with the idea that children, when given free range to listen to their bodies, will make good choices.
I liked this philosophy when it comes to food, and especially since Annika was so young, I thought that it would be better to start her off early so that she would begin to regulate sooner and not have any baggage around food.
Over the past year, however, I’ve seen that it isn’t quite that simple. It can be crazy-making when she doesn’t want to eat at all, or when she refuses to eat anything I’ve made, only to tell me later that she wants cookies.
Now that Halloween is upon us, the topic came up during a playgroup the other day. Some of the other moms I hang with were saying they were nervous about free range candy and were deciding how to handle it.
Some moms were planning on letting their kids gorge the night of Halloween and then toss the candy when the night was over. Another idea bandied about was the idea of trick-or-treating without a bag. The kids would be able to eat whatever they could eat while walking around and anything they could hang onto, but nothing else.
We also talked about what we did when we were kids.
Most moms said they remembered their parents letting them keep the stash, but it was kept hidden away and they had to ask permission to eat from it. One mom said she and her siblings were allowed to keep only three pieces. But she said it was fun. They made a game out of it. Once they got home, they’d spread out all their candy and take their time, strategically picking the best pieces. For instance, M&Ms were of high value, since it counted as one piece, but was really a full bag of candy.
When I was growing up, we were allowed to keep our bags of candy and keep control over it.
I don’t remember if my siblings gorged or not, but I know I didn’t. I’d hide my bag and eat out of it whenever I wanted to. I usually managed to make it last until Christmas, when I’d manage to stash away more candy.
But I’m a saver and a hoarder.
I’m not really sure which is better. One night of gorging, or stashing it away for late night snacking.
I’ve been planning to just let Annika keep her candy like I did last year. She was just 17 months old. She did eat the candy, but we didn’t really get that much. And I ate plenty of it too, so it didn’t last that long.
So what do you plan to do with your kids? Save it? Gorge for one night? Or keep it under parental control?